Best Streaming Services for Local Channels

For those who can’t give up on programming from major broadcast networks, it can be a challenge to cut the cord. Even if you’re tired of the binding contracts and the expensive subscription costs of cable, you don’t want to miss the live news and sports broadcasts from local affiliates.

Under the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rules, major TV networks, like ABC and CBS, don’t have permission to own local stations in most markets. Instead, they have to work with affiliate stations in different markets to broadcast their content through local channels. This makes it challenging to get local networks with an online streaming service as it involves striking up a new agreement with affiliate broadcasters.

The good news is that with the right live TV streaming service, you can now get local channels from major networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC even without a cable subscription. Several services now offer local network coverage in major television markets, so you can get a streaming bundle that acts as a cable alternative.

In this post, we give you a detailed look at some of the best streaming services to get local channels.

Streaming plans and local channels compared


AT&T TV fuboTVHulu + Live TVSling TVYouTube TV
Starting price$59.99/mo.$64.99/mo.$64.99/mo.$30/mo.$64.99/mo.
Free trial lengthN/A7 days7 days3 days7 days
ABC 
CBS 
FOX
NBC
Telemundo 
The CW 
Univision 

Top streaming services for cable channels

AT&T TV

With plans starting from $59.99/mo., AT&T TV has one of the most comprehensive lineups of local channels among all streaming services. The most basic package gives you access to local affiliates from leading cable networks across major television markets. This includes all four of the major television networks — ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.

Keep in mind that although AT&T TV offers local channels in most markets, that doesn’t mean you’ll get them in your city. Be sure to run a search using your zip code to find out which local channels are available in your region. It also carries smaller local networks like Telemundo, The CW, and Univision in select markets.

In spite of the expansive local channel selection, AT&T TV may not be the best choice for some because it doesn’t offer a free trial. That means you don’t get to try out the service before you commit to it.

fuboTV

fuboTV is another streaming option with a robust selection of local channels from major and smaller networks alike. The service carries local affiliates for ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC across most television markets. So aside from a few smaller cities, you should be able to get most local stations with this option.

And you get access to these local networks with the basic plan, starting from $64.99/mo. That means you won’t need to spend anything extra to watch live TV from your local station.

In addition, you also get Telemundo, The CW, and Univision in select markets. The coverage area for these networks is slightly more limited. But it’s still better than not getting these options at all. On top of this, you also get the Spanish-language network, UniMás in a handful of markets.

If this sounds like something that could work for you, fuboTV offers a 1-week free trial. So you can sign up to try the service for free for 7 days before you commit.

Hulu + Live TV

You can also get a solid selection of local stations with Hulu + Live TV. The service has just 1 plan, which costs $64.99/mo. This gives you access to local affiliates for all the major cable networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. But keep in mind that there are regional restrictions, and you won’t get these local channels across every market.

In addition, you also get local affiliates for Telemundo and The CW in select markets, although the coverage area is slightly more limited. One network that’s missing from the Hulu + Live TV local channel lineup is Univision.

But if you don’t really need the Univision programming, you could still sign up to try Hulu + Live TV for free for 7 days. This gives you ample time to check out whether you like the service’s local channel offering and if it’s enough to cut the cord.

Sling TV

With plans starting at just $30/mo., Sling TV offers the cheapest way to access programming from local stations. However, the service’s local channel offering is slightly more limited compared to other options. It doesn’t offer ABC, CBS, Telemundo, The CW, or Univision. But you can get FOX and NBC in select markets.

And you can’t get these local networks with every Sling plan, either. The $30/mo. Sling Orange plan, for instance, doesn’t offer any local channels. But you can get both FOX and NBC with Sling Blue, which also costs $30/mo.

If you like the Sling TV option but don’t want to miss out on CBS programming, you can even supplement your subscription with Paramount+. This is a standalone subscription that lets you watch live and on-demand CBS programming. And if you go for the cheapest plan at $5.99/mo. along with Sling TV, you’ll still end up paying less than other streaming services.

You can sign up to try Sling TV for free for 3 days. Or, if you’re convinced with this option, sign up to get $10 off on your first month.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is another comprehensive streaming option with a single, $64.99/mo. plan. This gives you access to local affiliates for all the major cable networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. But keep in mind that regional restrictions still apply, so you may not get these local channels in every television market.

Besides these 4 networks, you also get local affiliates for Telemundo and The CW in a handful of markets. But the coverage area is slightly more limited compared to that of the major networks. And the YouTube TV lineup lacks Univision, which may not be a complete dealbreaker to some.

If YouTube TV sounds like a good option to you, sign up to try it for free for 7 days and see if you like the local channel offering.

The final cut

Considering all this, fuboTV makes the most sense if you want access to local channels from all the leading cable networks since it also offers a 7-day free trial. If you don’t really watch Univision, however, you can choose from the other options as well. But if you need a cheaper alternative, Sling TV also makes sense, although you’ll be missing out on several local networks.

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